- The financial assistance provided by the EU to its neighbours is of great importance to both the payer and the beneficiary. The EU wants to stabilise its proximity and foster progress there, while its neighbours need financial support to overcome obstacles in the process of change. Therefore, the issue of EU assistance is of high importance and should be investigated further.
- However, the main focus is on the assistance pledged by the EU to the ENP region through the “Post-2020 EaP Priorities” and, more generally, the NDICI financial toolbox in the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027. The policy document also reveals less conventional financial tools that the EU uses to trigger and support policy and policy transformation in the region such as macro-financial assistance (MFA).
- In the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine, the focus of the paper is also on taking stock of how the EU reacted to support Ukraine through old and new European financial toolboxes. In conclusion, the policy document tables a set of recommendations for EU institutions and Member States aimed at making EU assistance more proportional in terms of geographical distribution (South, East and intra-regional) and the type of assistance allocated (loans, grants, blending, etc.).
- The differentiation criterion linked to EU membership perspective criteria, which indicate the potential for flexibility of pre-accession funds, is also explored. Finally, EU decision-makers are reminded of the importance of investing in transparency and inclusiveness in the process of establishing the conditionality mechanism towards third countries.